Have a baby that becomes a toddler and when you’re walking down a sidewalk and see a dandelion, pluck that dandelion, kneel down and blow the white puff in front of their face and watch how their eyes widen. Maybe they startle for a second or maybe they scream first and then laugh in delight, or better yet, they scream-laugh. Delight in them asking for more. Pluck another one. Breathe, blow. Watch the four walls of their life change by a thing that started as a flower and then — with your breath — became magic.
The dandelion is music. At its best, we delight in it like the toddler.
There is the life before the dandelion and the life after. When we discover certain music, certain songs for the first time, the intoxicating sound of it is the dandelion, a simple, bright yellow flower. When that music consumes us and when we in turn, devour it, eyes closed, ears wide, they — and we — are transformed into a cascade of tiny parachutes trailing into the breeze, falling to the earth and spreading, beginning again, to do unto others what they have done unto us.
The dandelion is often considered a pesky weed. To some it’s the rodent of the floral world, hearty enough to flourish in sidewalk cracks and the grooves of gutters and a gardener’s scourge, ripped, tossed, trashed. To others, the dandelion is a nutritional healer, appreciated for both its healing properties and its vitamin levels and antioxidant properties. For most of us — at minimum — it is a pretty yellow flower growing in stemmed clusters that, when ready to spread its seed, becomes a thing to pluck and wish upon. The wish breaks into hundreds of florets sailing upon the lift of breath and into the wind — a flower transforming into more than it began as.
I was moved to write this column, to share what music speaks to me, because of the experience of transformation that music has brought to me. How it has changed me from solid to liquid and back again. Even now, as I write this, headphones in my ears, shuffle on my Spotify, Black and Blue by Counting Crows began to play and my heart swelled in my chest, tears welled in my eyes and my head swam. It was involuntary. It was music. It was the memory of the song and what that song is tied to, nothing specific, simply a moment in time, a tender…